Health Care for the Rural Poor are Subjected to our Whims

What's worrying people living and working in the palm oil plantation hasn't changed much. Accessibility to basic rights: health care.
Malaysia
Access to health care facility is naturally a concern for the rural poor. Small communities which also includes Orang Asli (indigenous tribes), marginalized by socio-economic status - along with racial stereotyping, face barriers when it comes to clinics and hospitals. People live deep within the settlements (popularly known as "estates" by Malaysians) of the plantations which in itself is a harsh kingdom controlled by corporations, upper middle class and government entities.

Clinics, hospitals, medical assistants, nurses and doctors. Key words that determine the longevity of those facing hardship in a man-made environment of 'agriculture'. Those with motorcycles or fortunate enough to own a 2nd-hand vehicle, are somewhat able to access health care facilities, such as the nearby clinic outside of the boundary of the plantation.

What's "free" in Malaysia's health system is basic medication for basic illnesses, after one pays the RM1 for registration/administrative charge. Antibiotics and painkillers are among the basics, so if one has a serious health condition, that would cost more usually at a further location, or in another state. Distance and logistics become a burden to the lowly-paid estate worker.

Health care activism is somewhat a dead cause, or merely a hiccup among Malaysian activists. Inaccessibility for those living in rural areas are subjected to the whims and fancy of politicians, plantation bosses and ignorant district officials.

Activists prefer to focus on cities or developed locations such as large towns, if so only for their own convenience or just that its closer to 'civilized' population.

So while some continue to enjoy the 'free health care' services catered by the government and NGOs, many in the plantations and Orang Asli villages are struggling to meet basic needs and rights.

But then again, we have known this for over 55 years, and we Malaysians continue to pretend it doesn't affect us. Contradictions within a melting pot of behavioral complexities, or simply indifference to those who are in the pisspot of stigma.






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